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K-State Today

January 31, 2024

K-State students shine in prestigious Steelcase NEXT design competition

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Two students from the interior architecture and industrial design program in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, and one student from the interior design program in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Kansas State University have achieved remarkable success in the prestigious Steelcase NEXT design competition. Out of 1,400 participating students, these talented individuals have secured their place in the top 28, showcasing their exceptional skills and creativity.

The students are Maia Smith, Interior Architecture, Sedalia, Missouri; Lily Turner, interior architecture, Overland Park; and Kayla Bonczkowski, interior design Oswego, Illinois. 

Smith's project, "NEXT Architecture," redefines the workplace by drawing inspiration from the dynamic nature of the work cycle and the five stages that encompass the workday: focus, learning, collaboration, socialization and rejuvenation. By seamlessly integrating spaces that support each stage, "NEXT Architecture" allows for the full customization of the work experience, fostering a sense of belonging, autonomy, motivation and purpose for its workers. The project utilizes color, volume and rounded forms to promote smooth transitions and flow, envisioning "NEXT Architecture" as the workplace of the future. Smith is mentored by Michelle Wempe, professor of practice, APDesign

Turner's project, "Next Architecture," is a conceptual masterpiece aiming to connect employees with each other and the local Dallas area. Taking inspiration from the Katy Trail and its role as a green space fostering community in Dallas, Turner sought to recreate that on a smaller scale within the workplace. The project envisions a space that goes beyond conventional boundaries, creating a community within the workspace. Turner is mentored by Michelle Wempe, professor of practice, APDesign.

Inspired by the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge connecting West Dallas with the downtown district, Bonczkowski's project, "NEXT Design Firm," abstracts the bridge's structure to create two interconnected glass cylinder tubes connected by a mezzanine. The design features a catwalk that bridges private and social spaces on the second floor. Materials such as wooden baffles, wall coverings and lighting are strategically used to emulate the movement across the bridge. The design embodies new experiences, progress, unity and connection, mirroring the vibrant culture being built in Dallas. Bonczkowski is mentored by Hyung Chan Kim, associate professor and Michael Dudek, associate professor, interior design and fashion studies

The Steelcase NEXT design competition is renowned for attracting top talent in the field, providing a platform for students to demonstrate their innovative approaches to interior design and industrial concepts.

"We are thrilled to announce the outstanding achievement of our students in the Steelcase NEXT design competition," said Michael McClure, professor, and dean of APDesign at K-State. "This recognition highlights not only the individual talents of these students but also the excellence of our architecture and interior architecture programs."

"Under the tutelage of outstanding faculty, the student’s designs stood out among a competitive pool, earning them a well-deserved spot among the top performers that reinforces the quality and high standards of the interior design program," said Migette Kaup, professor and interior design program director. "They consistently push the boundaries and explore new horizons." 

The Steelcase NEXT Design Competition is a prestigious event that attracts students from across the nation, challenging them to showcase their creativity and vision in the field of interior design and industrial concepts. With a history of recognizing top talent, the competition serves as a platform for students to make a mark in the industry.